Raffle the Right Way – British Columbia’s Rules
In the Province of British Columbia, it is not legal to hold a raffle without a licence. British Columbia allows not-for-profit organizations (mainly for charity and religious functions) to hold raffles, provided they obtain the appropriate class of licence. These raffles must be dedicated to raising funds for a broader community purpose or a third party. To stay on the right side of the law, organizations and groups must apply for the licence that fits the particular raffle (or series of raffles).
The type of licence required for a raffle will depend on the following factors: how much gross revenue is expected to be earned, the type of organization or group holding the raffle, value of the prizes awarded and the price of tickets. Raffles with a gross expected revenue of $20,000 or more fall under the category of a Class A Licence, while raffles with less than $20,000 fall under the Class B Licence. For raffles with gross expected revenue of $5,000 or less, you must apply for a Class D Licence. A Class C Licence is for community fairs and exhibitions who obtain approval for raffles and other games.
A licence may be applied for well in advance, as the waiting period for application processing can be up to 10 weeks. It is important to read and be aware of the guidelines and standard procedures for the specific class of licence that is sought. Consulting the pre-application checklist will make completing an application less difficult and time-consuming. Applications may be submitted online or mailed, but cannot be faxed or emailed.
Important details to note:
Raffles Over $20,000 – Class A
- Raffles generating more than $200,000 in gross revenue must have separate people running the event and taking care of the finances. In addition the organization must establish a separate gaming account for the deposit and payout of all raffle proceeds.
- Applications must be submitted at least 10 weeks before licence is needed.
Raffles Under $20,000 – Class B
- Applications may take up to 3 days to process upon receipt of the completed application.
- Processing time may be longer if additional information is needed to gain approval.
Raffles Under 5,000 and Fairs/Exhibitions – Class D, C
- Groups holding raffles under $5,000 must use their funds for a broader community purpose or to benefit a third party in British Columbia.
- Fairs or exhibitions must be open to the general public, operated annually and be at least 3 days in duration to gain approval for a Class C Licence.